We all have things we would like to do, like go to the gym, learn a new language, spend time with people and so on. If you can never find the time, Try creating goals in Google Calendar.
Google Calendar Goals is a fairly new feature and it is an interesting one because it tries to automate the scheduling of regular events. You always could schedule recurring events, like a monthly, weekly or daily meeting, but this is rigid and inflexible. The recurring event takes place at exactly the same time every day, week or month.
A goal is a recurring event, but it is flexible and it does not have to occur at the same time each time. It can move around your schedule and it may be at 9.00 am one day and 10.00 am the next time it is scheduled.
The scheduling has some randomness built in, so even if you have absolutely nothing on the day of the event, it might schedule it at a slightly different time. It works best with a busy schedule in Calendar though, and it aims to find free time and slot in whatever activity you choose for the goal.
Some people show other calendars within Google Calendar and I’m not sure it will schedule around those, but it should avoid double booking with another Calendar event.
To create a goal, press the plus button in the bottom right corner of the screen and then press Goal. Remember that it is a recurring event, not a one-off. On the next screen are categories of goals and these include Exercise, Build a skill, Family and friends, Me time, and Organise my life.
Select one of these categories and a number of subcategories are displayed. For example, select Build a skill and the options are Learn a language, Learn to code, Practise and instrument, Create art and Custom.
The Custom option enables you to type in your own title, which could be anything you choose. Suppose you choose to learn a new language. On the next screen are some suggestions. I’ll choose Learn French, but the keyboard appears and you can type in anything you want.
Next you choose how often you want to engage in the activity and the options range from once a week to every day. You might go to the gym twice a week, but learning a language you might study every day.
After selecting the frequency, you choose the length of time. For the language learning I have chosen, then 15 minutes five days a week is ideal, but it depends on what you are doing and a cycle ride for two hours once a week might be your thing.
Now you choose the best time to schedule the recurring event. Not the exact time, but morning, afternoon, evening or any time of the day. The app then works out the best times and the best days.
Tapping the tick button creates the goals, but there are some more options.
Do you want a notification 30 minutes before the event so you don’t forget? Turn on the option here. The colour in the calendar can be selected too.
Finally, the goal appears in the calendar. I told it I wanted to learn French 5 days a week in the mornings. It found free time (not hard since I haven’t much scheduled), and entered the events. It even set a later time on Sunday, presumably so I do have to get up so early.
Tap an event and you can mark it as Done. You can also defer it, which puts it off to the next day. That is useful if something changes in your busy schedule and you cannot find time for your goal.
Press a goal event to open it, press the three dots in the top right corner for the menu and it can be deleted. There is also an option to delete all goal events on all days, which can be used if you quit the goal
It is important to realise that anything can be a goal because there is an option to enter your own title. This could make it useful for recurring events with flexible timing.
Suppose you have a weekly meeting, but not always at exactly the same time, schedule it as a goal and it will be more flexible, moving to fit in with whatever other tasks are planned for that day. If you are too busy for the meeting, you could tap is and defer it, and it will find a free slot tomorrow.
Think of goals as flexible recurring events.
- Written by Roland Waddilove
- Created: 04 June 2016